Front page of the Times today reports an “explosive” study from the world of education: that a good kindergarten teacher appears to make a huge difference in a child’s life, in everything from future family life to adult income. I have to admit, I’m skeptical, at least until I see more about the study’s methodology. From the Times capsule description (and we in the profession certainly know how imprecise journalistic shorthand for anything scientific can be), it appears that the study is only somewhat able to control for economic and other conditions at a child’s home. Right there, you’ve gotta wonder.
But even if it’s only semi-plausible, it comes at a time when teaching, as a profession, is under assault. As my colleague Bob Kolker smartly noted two weeks ago, we’ve taken to demonizing teachers these days, in particular when it comes to their opinions on education reform. This will almost certainly accelerate over the next couple of years, as state budgets are cut and the unions howl, and as Obama tries to re-reform No Child Left Behind. And it is sure to affect thinking about universal pre-K, a Dadwagon hobbyhorse about which you can read more here.
Anyone got an life-changing-kindergarten-teacher story for us? Comments are, as always, open and waiting.